Cutting Straight to the Point?

Written by buzz. Posted in Technology

The worst spill in U.S. history

A view of BP's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico

The latest “solution” to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill doesn’t seem to be as promising as most had hoped. BP’s idea was to use giant shears to slice off a piece of the pipe and then place a cap on it in hopes to stop the gushing spill has come face-to-face with a problem. After 6 weeks of failed efforts to stop the spill, this marks yet another frustrating delay.

Originally they were using a diamond-tipped saw, but under tremendous undersea pressure the saw became stuck in the pipe about halfway through the job. BP used the shears to cut off the remaining pipe left. Unfortunately the cut was irregular and now placing the cap will be challenging. Even with a clean cut, slicing away a section of the 20 inch wide riser could remove kinks in the pipe and temporarily increase the flow of oil… as much as 20%. The worst oil spill in U.S. history doesn’t seem to have any promising solutions and it is weighing heavily on everyone involved, including citizens.

The cap is said to be over the spill and will be placed Thursday afternoon. It won’t be on perfectly as they originally had hoped for, so it is unknown how much oil BP can siphon to the surface. August is the next step. Then BP will be placing two relief wells meant to plug the reservoir for good. This might have been a low probability accident, but it is catastrophic. BP acknowledges that. They seemed deeply apologetic about the hurt they have caused, especially to the wildlife that has been affected. Even if recognition isn’t good enough, some are temporarily satisfied they are taking responsibility and saying the criticism is “fair”.

Many hope this will be a solution

"cap project" - BP's latest attempts on slowing the oil spill until a permanent solution in August

In the end, this spill is costly to BP. This cap project will cost them around $360 million. Not to mention the $990 million they have spent on clean up, grants to Gulf Coast states and money to people and companies that have claimed to be hurt by the spill. We will not know if the large amounts of money spent on this project alone will have much of a positive effect until the cap is placed and observed. No money can reverse the effects the U.S. has suffered from this spill, but hopefully this temporary cap project can hold the spill until the relief wells are in place.

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Comments (1)

  • matthew cote

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    It’s really a shame – all of this: the whole shebang. I’m glad that you’re covered it the way you did – great pictures (and captions). GREAT JOB calling it the BP oil spill 😉

    Reply

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